MCDF is an autonomous microcredit-based community program aimed at creating women entrepreneurs in villages. The project addresses self-help income generation by rural women and now includes additional areas to promote social and environmental awareness in handling women’s rights issues. The Self-Help Group (SHG) structure is utilized to implement multiple service layers, including micro-banking, skills training, counseling, information dissemination, domestic violence prevention, family health, women’s rights, and empowerment.
A Self-Help Group (SHG) can be formed by a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 like-minded women with similar financial status from the same locality. They will then elect a President, Secretary, and Treasurer for their governance. The Mukti and MCDF workers will assist the group in understanding methodology and development logistics. The project aims to harness the capabilities of the rural population by providing them with knowledge, skill sets, tools, and finance. This will enable them to obtain a decent livelihood through self-employment and increase their chances of securing employment in different sectors.
The project involves the formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) consisting of 10 to 15 women with similar financial status. From all SHGs in one or more neighboring localities, one member (preferably the President) from each SHG will form the Forum Branch (FB). Each FB may comprise a maximum of 200 SHGs. Annual general meetings will be held in each Branch to elect or select their Forum’s executive committee. The committee will consist of 7 to 11 members who will be elected or selected for a one-year term. The committee members will then elect their President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Sundarbans and adjoining areas Mathurapur-I, Mathurapur-II, Kultali, PatharPratima, Canning, Basanti, Namkhana, Kakdwip, Sagar Blocks in South 24 Parganas District and Egra-1, Datan-I, Datan-II, Keshiary, Narayangarh, Nayagram Blocks in East and West Midnipur and in Jhargram Districts
The MCDF project was initiated in 2014 as a pilot initiative, starting with one Forum Branch at Village Purbasridharpur under the Raidighi block of South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. Due to its success, the programme was replicated in six other areas, covering 369 SHGs and involving 3,610 women in total. The programme has been expanding since 2016, with a portion of group savings reinvested as loans for members to initiate Income Generating Activities (IGAs). The attached table indicates the present status of the MCDF programme. Currently, MCDF involves 30,000 women, has created 2,850 SHG groups, and has established 30+ branches across West Bengal.
Success Story of Dipali Bhandar
Dipali Bhandari, a resident of Domkal village under Raidighi PS in South 24 Parganas, has carved her own path to success. Rising above her circumstances, she left her daily wage labor job to start her own snacks counter. Her hard work has paid off, and she now earns a monthly income of Rs. 3000/-. Dipali's inspiring story shows that with determination and perseverance, one can achieve success, no matter how challenging the circumstances.
Shibani Hazra, hailing from Nagendrapur village under Raidighi PS in South 24 Parganas, has broken stereotypes and invested in her own future. With sheer determination and hard work, she has bought machinery for water supply and a crane-crusher machine for her agricultural land, bringing in a monthly income of Rs. 6000/-. Previously, she used to assist her husband in farming, but now she stands on her own feet, proving that women in rural areas can not only dream big but also achieve their goals with determination and hard work..
Rekha Bairagi, a resident of Dumkol village under Raidighi PS in South 24 Parganas, has defied all odds and opened an electrical store, after years of working as a household help in Kolkata. With her hard work and determination, she now earns a monthly income of Rs. 4000/-. Recently, she invested in a Xerox machine for her shop, which she hopes will not only boost her income but also bring more opportunities for growth and success.